12 MIN READ
Dealing With Manipulative People
Standing Your Ground
It's the end of a hard week, and Luciana can't wait to get home and spend the evening with her family. Suddenly, her boss Karen walks into her office, sits down and sighs.
"Today sure went by fast," Karen says. "My mother just got into town, but it looks like I'll have to work late this evening to finish our quarterly report. It's a shame, because I had reservations for dinner, and we don't get that much time together."
"That's too bad," Luciana says, feeling uncomfortable.
"The last time you handled the quarterly report, you got it done in just a few hours," Karen continues, looking pointedly at Luciana. She then leans in closer to her. "Oh, and while I'm here, I wanted to let you know that I'm meeting with HR next week to discuss whether you should get a pay raise."
"Wow, thanks, Karen. I guess I could finish up that quarterly report for you..."
In this situation, it's clear to see that Karen has manipulated Luciana. However, this subtle form of aggression, which can leave us feeling confused, hurt and blindsided, isn't always so easy to spot.
In this article, we'll look at manipulation in detail, and discuss how to identify and deal with manipulative people.
What Is Manipulation?
According to Professor Len Bowers, manipulation occurs when someone uses deception, coercion, trickery, or fear to get what they want from others.
It differs from healthy social influence because manipulators care only for their own interests – they don't take other people's needs into account. When you influence people fairly, you don't use them exclusively for your own ends. Rather, you persuade them to see your point of view, while acknowledging their needs and feelings.
Why Do People Manipulate Others?